Keri McWilliams

Back to School: Are you improving student writing with Read&Write?


In this second blog of our Back to School series, we’ve highlighted the main features of Read&Write that can help with student writing.


Texthelper with a shield, with a backpack full of stationary, including the Read&Write icon


‘Writing is essential to communication, learning, and citizenship. It is the currency of the new workplace and global economy. Writing helps us convey ideas, solve problems, and understand our changing world. Writing is a bridge to the future.’

– National Writing Project website (nwp.org)



Read&Write is more than an accessibility tool and a purple puzzle piece that sits on your network computers! Its features can revolutionise literacy within your classroom - and we want you and your students to make the most of the features on offer. 

Throughout our Back To School blog series, we will explore various themes that matter most to you (the teacher) and demonstrate how the software that your school has invested in can help you think differently about your lesson planning. 

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Think back to when you were in school. How was your writing encouraged in English lessons? From the days of joined-up handwriting in Primary School to creative storytelling and writing in Secondary School, we didn’t have the same tech support offered in today’s digital age. However, tech support can be a huge help when it comes to writing. 

In a recent independent study, students using Read&Write showed an average increase in writing scores.

Prediction and dictionaries are essential for writing progression. Prediction, in particular, aids with sentence structure and writing fluency. And with a dictionary as an additional support, vocabulary knowledge can be expanded and called upon. 

Let's take a look into the Read&Write features that can specifically support writing in more detail. 
 

Writing support features

  • Talk&Type
  • Word Prediction
  • Check it
  • Dictionary 

Talk&Type turns the spoken word into text by enabling students to dictate into a microphone. Speech to text empowers students to get their thoughts down in writing, which can then be reviewed and proof-read by other features of Read&Write, like Text-to-Speech and Check It, to help catch errors.
 
Prediction suggests word options, helping students craft longer, more complex sentences to enrich their written work. It’s really helpful for EAL students and reluctant learners.

Our advanced spell checker, Check It, helps students refine their own work by reviewing writing for spelling, grammar, and homophone errors. Students can even use Text-to-Speech within Check It to hear the word and its definition read aloud to help them identify an alternative.

Finally, the Dictionary and Picture Dictionary can be great for students getting to grips with new words, especially if they’re learning English.
 

Features in action 

Here are a few examples of how you can incorporate these Read&Write features into your day-to-day writing activities.


Use a number of our Read&Write features in an English Literacy Lesson Plan 

Select a book (in a digital format) and have Read&Write read out a chapter of focus. 

Instruct learners to provide written answers to a number of associated questions. They can type their answers with the help of our written tools: 
  • Check It to correct any errors 
  • Prediction to support writing
  • Voice Note to record answers
  • Talk&Type to dictate their answers
  • Highlighters to collect information from the digital book and the internet 
  • Dictionaries for words they don’t understand  

Optional activity 
  • By using the highlighters, encourage students to highlight words that they struggle with and create a Vocabulary list for better understanding
  • Ask them to create their own unique sentence for each word in the vocabulary list using Voice Note, Prediction or Talk&Type.

If you find these Read&Write activity examples useful, check out our dedicated Back to School resource page for other handy hints and tips to help you get the most out of Read&Write. 

We’re also running live webinars for each of our Back to School blog series themes. If you would like to learn more about how Read&Write can help boost writing support in your class, sign up to Richard & Anna’s ‘Using Read&Write to Support Writing’ webinar taking place on Monday 30th September 2019 from 3:45pm- 4:30pm. 

Lastly, if you would like to share how you use Read&Write in your classroom, feel free to add your ideas to the comments section below. 

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